Institutional Psychoanalysis and the Paradoxes of Archivization

Andrea Hurst

in Derrida Vis-à-vis Lacan

Published by Fordham University Press

Published in print May 2008 | ISBN: 9780823228744
Published online March 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780823235179 | DOI:

Series: Perspectives in Continental Philosophy

Institutional Psychoanalysis and the               Paradoxes of Archivization

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This chapter addresses Jacques Derrida's third thesis on Sigmund Freud, which concerns the double bind of return and destruction that dis-organizes all of the notions that are essential to establish a living tradition: “institution”, “interpretation”, “invention”, “convention”. According to Derrida, Freud's genius here is to have uncovered the stifling economic structure of what is termed “archontic circle”. Freud shows that the rebellion of a group against a strongly authoritarian tyrant leaves the group in a power vacuum where, due to a powerful residual need for authority, ambivalent forces of pride, guilt, and fear predominate. This intolerable ambivalence, if left unresolved, leads the group to impose upon themselves the very restrictions they have just thrown off. The prohibitions once imposed on them by the tyrant are now internalized and self-imposed. Moreover, he tacitly uncovers a way out of it via the aneconomic feminine Oedipus complex. However, Freud remains within the archontic circle, not only in his insistent patriarchy but also in his attempts to institutionalize psychoanalysis.

Keywords: Sigmund Freud; psyche; Jacques Derrida; return; destruction; psychoanalysis; archontic circle; authority; ambivalence; Oedipus complex

Chapter.  10648 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Language

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